photo by @randyolson | story by @neilshea13 Ju…

Dublin Core


photo by @randyolson | story by @neilshea13 Ju…


Neil Shea







POINT (-13676641.0854645, 5704477.88623797)

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photo by @randyolson | story by @neilshea13 Just after dawn along the Omo River, after the bats have returned to their roosts and the fishing owls to their nests and the last hyenas have moved deeper into the desert, beyond sight of hunters, beyond reach of rifles. In this photograph, daylight is returning the world to human hands. The girls, of the Kara tribe, stand in their father's flood-fed field, stripping heads off sorghum stalks and stacking them to dry, pausing now and then to chew a mouthful of sugar-rich cane. Today the girls would be older. Almost teens. Marriage not far away. Perhaps they've already been promised to men many years their elders, but in this moment, look: they're defiant, radiant, sure of their places.

For the last six years, Randy Olson and I have been documenting change, conflict, and culture in the watershed that connects southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. Next week, we'll publish in @natgeo the latest in our series of #NGwatershedstories, which follows the lives and struggles of people on the shores of Kenya's Lake Turkana. Before that story goes live, we'd like to show you where our work began—along the Omo, one of Africa's mightiest and most endangered rivers. That's where we met these girls and lived among their families in a village called Duss.

This is a new kind of collaboration for us, using Instagram to share words + pictures in ways that weren't possible when we began this project, back in 2009. While we believe in big stories, the kind told in magazines, we also love the smaller ones made possible here—the moments that can raise a single voice, or offer one more frame of light. Join us at @randyolson and @neilshea13 as we follow water through the desert. You can see the entire Omo series here: #omoriver2009.

#africa #ethiopia #omoriver #kara #dam #rivers #conservation #nowaternofuture #geneticislands #documentary #reportage #instaessay #natgeo @natgeo @thephotosociety @petergwin #omoriver2009




Neil Shea, “photo by @randyolson | story by @neilshea13 Ju…,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed August 5, 2020,